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LONDON, June 8 (Xinhua) -- Leading London theater critics were as spellbound as Harry Potter fans after the first showing Tuesday night of the world's first stage production in London of JK Rowling's legendary stories.

The packed audience at the Palace Theatre in London's West End gave the show an ecstatic reception.

Many of the 1,500 fans wore wizard and witch outfits or home-made Hogwarts uniforms to add to the occasion, making London's busy theater land look like a convention by the Ministry of Magic.

The two-part Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play has been given its first preview, ahead of its official premiere in July. Part two of the story is being previewed at the Palace Theatre on Thursday.

When the curtain came down after the first preview, the theater erupted into a burst of applause with a standing ovation.

Illusions and scenery generated gasps of amazement and delight from the auditorium.

The stage play moves the Potter series forward 19 years on from where the books ended, with Harry Potter, now a father of three, overworked in his job at the Ministry of Magic.

How the story ends is a closely guard secret, with the audience handed badges as they left urging them to note spoil it by spilling the beans.

JK Rowling also appealed to theatergoers to not ruin the surprise, writing on social media Wednesday: ""Potter fans have always had each other's backs. Today I'm asking you to KeepTheSecrets of CursedChild. This isn't about ticket sales: we've been sold out for ages.""

Critic Clare Fitzsimons of the Daily Mirror wrote Wednesday: ""Spells and hexes combined with laughs and drama mean Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will be every bit the hit everyone expects. Judging by the whooping and cheering, nobody was disappointed.""

Fitzsimons said the play would appeal to super-fans and Potter novices alike, writing: ""The storyline, a hymn to friendship and teenage misfits, contains enough twists to please the most knowledgeable of fans, who remained resolutely tight-lipped about the plot as they spilled on to the pavement in rapture afterwards.""

She said the play would not struggle to compete with the multi-million-dollar special effects of the film industry, citing objects that seemed to disappear before our eyes and characters that appeared as if from nowhere.

The script was written by Jack Thorne and John Tiffany around an original new story by JK Rowling.

According to the Daily Mail, tickets for the play are being offered on social media sites at a cost of up to 3,000 U.S. dollars, compared to their box office prices of between 22 U.S. dollars and 190 U.S. dollars. Tickets for shows in May 2017 have already been sold. Enditem


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